“Concerning the hope and resurrection of the dead I am being judged!”
This was Paul’s plea when he was given the opportunity to give an account of himself and his life. Paul could have said many things about his life, but he chose to say this. Why would Paul give this simple account of his life?
Perhaps Jesus Christ and His commission to Paul was so present before Paul’s face each day that it was as plain as the nose on his face. Maybe Paul lived so fully in the reality of the resurrection that it had become the meaning of his life.
Here’s part of Paul’s testimony of his life from Acts 22:14-15, as he quotes what the Lord told Ananias to tell him: “The God of our fathers has chosen you that you should know his will, and see the Just One, and hear the voice of his mouth. For you will be His witness to all men of what you have seen and heard.”
And you: what account will you give of your life? You’ve heard the testimony of St. Paul and that of St. Charles the Lesser. What is your testimony?
If you’re having trouble, I’ve got a great starter for you:
“Concerning the hope and resurrection of the dead I am being judged! The God of our fathers has chosen you that you should know his will, and see the Just One, and hear the voice of his mouth. For you will be His witness to all men of what you have seen and heard.”
The prophecy that Paul heard from Ananias is what I am prophesying about you. Of course, I can only prophecy something so audacious because it is God’s testimony concerning you: you are before the world to testify to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, and all that is involved in that. God has chosen you to know His will – and He’s chosen you to see Jesus Christ, the Just One! You have been chosen to hear the voice of Christ’s mouth, and you have been anointed to tell others about what you have seen and heard.
These promises aren’t just for St. Paul – they’re for every believer in Jesus Christ! Forgive my excessive use of exclamation marks!, but when something this amazing comes along! we should rejoice with an exceedingly great joy!!!
Couldn’t you say of yourself what Paul says of himself at the beginning of all of his letters? Things like “_______ (insert your name here), a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to tell others about Him, separated to the gospel of God, which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son Jesus Christ, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name, among who you also are the called of Jesus Christ” (Romans 1:1-6).
You know what I like about this passage? I like how effortlessly Paul has tied his own life and ministry to that of Jesus Christ. He begins with his own calling but soon proceeds to Jesus Christ and His resurrection. Now what’s the link between Paul’s life and ministry and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ? That Paul is a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called by Him to tell others what he has seen and heard.
Think about the audacity of the claim that Paul and I are making for you and your life. We’re claiming that you are a servant of the Lord Most High. I’m currently listening to an audiotape of The Return of the King by Tolkien. I’m humbled by how faithfully Pippin gives his loyalty and life to Denethor. But you have been made the bondservant of God Himself. Who are you, that you should be so honored?
And I claim that God has chosen you that you should know His will. More than this – He’s chosen you to see Jesus Christ the Just One and to hear His voice. Your life isn’t just about you and your stuff: it’s about Jesus Christ who has chosen You for Himself. He’s chosen you and your life to be lived for Him and to become a part of His life. And He’s chosen you to live so joyfully and faithfully that you can’t help but tell others about what you’ve seen and heard (Acts 4:20).
And what have you seen and heard? Jesus Christ Himself (Acts 22:14).
Remember this one thought today: that you have seen and heard Jesus Christ.
Now – what does this make you want to do with the rest of your day?
Prayer: Lord God, I thank You that You have chosen me that you I should know Your will, and see the Just One, and hear the voice of His mouth. Help me to see You through Your Son today and to see Your Son in all of the ways He comes to me today. Inspired by Your Holy Spirit, may I be His witness to all men of what I have seen and heard. Amen.
Point for Meditation:
1. What is your core identity? How do you see yourself most of the time? Practice adjusting your view of yourself so that you include a self identity like that of St. Paul.
2. What does the fact that you have seen and heard Jesus Christ make you feel like doing?
Resolution: I resolve to look and listen for Jesus Christ today.
© 2012 Fr. Charles Erlandson
Category: Give Us This Day